CHICAGO: The GM of Edelman's Chicago reputation-management practice has left to start his own firm. Nicholas Kalm has set up Reputation Partners along with two other former Edelman coworkers.
Marta Rhyner was an SVP in Edelman's reputation-management practice, and will be a partner with Kalm in the new firm. Jane Dalzell was an Edelman senior account supervisor, and is taking on an as-yet untitled role in Reputation Partners.
Kalm said his departure was his idea, and did not signal problems with Edelman's reputation-management practice. "We did OK despite the downturn," he said of Edelman, but "you have to follow your dream, and that's what we're doing. This was purely just an opportunity move on our parts."
Nancy Ruscheinski, president of Edelman Chicago, said she is working on a plan to replace Kalm, and would have more details shortly.
Kalm said his new firm will work on corporate communications, employee communications, and issues management "at a more affordable price point" than Edelman offers. He expects to have five to six clients and $750,000 in revenues his first year. He will not try to pitch Edelman clients, he said. Kalm has already secured office space along Chicago's chic Michigan Avenue, where many large PR shops are housed.
Rhyner was at Edelman for three years. Before that, she spent six years at Northwest Airlines, and left as director of media relations.